PDA

View Full Version : Apple Macintosh creator, Jef Raskin, dies


Beamtracer
02-27-2005, 11:03 PM
http://jef.raskincenter.org/main/pictures/img/jef_big.jpg

"Jef Raskin, the human-computer interface expert largely credited with beginning the Macintosh project for Apple Computer, died Saturday at age 61."
News.com story:
http://news.com.com/Jef+Raskin%2C+Mac+interface+expert%2C+dies+at+61/2100-1045_3-5591858.html

The original concept of a computer which used a mouse to control a cursor on the screen was first developed by the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

However, it was Jef Raskin at Apple Computer who developed it into the graphic user interface (GUI) that we use today, with menus, floating windows and folders etc.

When the Macintosh was released in 1984, Microsoft's Bill Gates said that the graphic user interface would never be used for serious computing. However, Microsoft eventually copied Apple's GUI when it released Windows 3.1.

Mac Minute magazine did this interesting interview with Jef Raskin last year...
http://www.macminute.com/2004/02/11/jeffraskin/

Excerpt:
Jeff Raskin bristles at being called "one of the creators" of the Mac, saying that he is "the" creator.


"It is in the same sense that Edison invented the light bulb: other people built it and tested various materials and made it work, but his idea of a glowing filament heated electrically was the key," Raskin says. "And there were precedents that one can cite, but those inventors did not get a company to produce their ideas.

Similarly, the fundamental idea of the Macóbuilding a computer to support an interface, and to make the architecture inherently graphical with a graphic input device and a bit-mapped displayówas due to nobody else at Apple. And, with long effort during which it was opposed, I got a company to actually produce it.

I do not minimize the significant and central work done by others, many contributed to the design and realization to the Mac, but there was only one person at Apple who had the initial vision, a vision preserved even in the present product."

The legacy of Jef Raskin's human interface work lives on in every computer we use today.

js33
02-28-2005, 02:33 AM
Hi Beam,

Sad news. We all owe alot to Jeff and Apple and Xerox and IBM and yes even Bill Gates for the powerful tools we have today. As well as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack and all the early pioneers. Let's not forget Jay Miner the Amiga creator who passed away a few years ago.

Cheers,
JS

cha0t1c1
02-28-2005, 02:40 AM
such men, should always be remmembered. peace be upon him...

Beamtracer
02-28-2005, 04:06 AM
It's also sad that Jef Raskin's work was not finished.

He was in the process of designing a new type of computer interface, simply called "THE". The MacMinute story (linked at the top of the page) has a little bit about it

Despite designing the basic framework of the GUI of just about every computer used today, he was ironically critical of the GUI...

Quote from MacMinute:
"pull-down menus hide information that users might want to see; text editors require too many keyboard movements; shuttling between a keyboard and a mouse wastes too much time; and fundamental flaws in desktop-command conventions can result in data loss."

His "THE" project was to have addressed these issues. I'm not sure it will continue in his absence.

shrimp_chip
02-28-2005, 05:03 PM
I'm very sorry to hear he's passed away, but his importance to the Mac and to computer interface design in general is much smaller than he believed. He was a proponent of sealed fixed-funcion appliances. Look at the Canon Cat product to see what Macintosh would have been if Jeff had his way. Good way to design an MP3 player, bad way to design a PC.

Beamtracer
02-28-2005, 07:40 PM
his importance to the Mac and to computer interface design in general is much smaller than he believed.

I give credit to Jeff for fundamental interface concepts that we all use today. Concepts like "click and drag" were not developed by Xerox (as some seem to believe) but were developed by Jeff Raskin for the first Macintosh. It was revolutionary at the time, and no one else had it. It would be many years before Microsoft copied it.

Raskin and Apple should have patented "click and drag". 13 years later, Amazon patented "1-click", which was far less of a new concept.

Raskin later developed the interface for the Canon Cat, pictured below. This machine was not a market success.
http://www.digibarn.com/collections/systems/canon-cat/TN_Image53.JPG (http://www.digibarn.com/collections/systems/canon-cat/page_01.htm) http://www.digibarn.com/collections/systems/canon-cat/TN_Image56.JPG (http://www.digibarn.com/collections/systems/canon-cat/page_01.htm)

Elekko
03-01-2005, 01:57 PM
Man, thats tragic.

shrimp_chip
03-01-2005, 03:11 PM
I give credit to Jeff for fundamental interface concepts that we all use today. Concepts like "click and drag" were not developed by Xerox (as some seem to believe) but were developed by Jeff Raskin for the first Macintosh. It was revolutionary at the time, and no one else had it. It would be many years before Microsoft copied it.


Huh? Sutherland at MIT, Engelbart at SRI, and later tons of people at Xerox Parc had the direct manipulation GUI years before Jeff did anything. And much of Jeff's innovation was to work around the self-imposed limitation of using a one button mouse. His useful contributions were evolutionary, and somewhat tangential, not revolutionary.

Remember the Canon Cat, perhaps the purest embodiement of Raskin's ideas, failed in the market because it was non-standard, closed, expensive, and single-purpose. The same problems nearly killed Mac in the early years. Basicly nobody wanted to use what Jeff wanted to make.

CGTalk Moderation
03-01-2006, 04:00 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.